President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has promoted the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant from Vice Admiral to Admiral – the highest rank of a PCG commissioned officer.

The chief executive has approved the promotion of Admiral Joel S Garcia effective 09 December 2019. He formally took oath at the Malacañang Palace yesterday afternoon, 10 December 2019. 

This morning, 11 December 2019, officers and personnel of the PCG National Headquarters welcomed Admiral Garcia with arrival of honors ceremony.

Admiral Garcia is the 26th Commandant of the PCG and the Director of the National Coast Watch Center (NCWC). He is also the Chairperson of the Governing Council of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) – the first regional government-to-government agreement that promotes and enhances cooperation to counter piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia and the Pacific.

Admiral Garcia finished his Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation in Navigational Science at the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) in 1985 and pursued his Master in Shipping Business Management at the PMMA in 1993 as a full scholar.

Aside from acquiring his license as Master Mariner in 1992, he earned the second place and the fourth place at the Chief Officer and Master Mariner board examinations respectively.

Consequently, Admiral Garcia had a colorful seagoing career to numerous Philippine Navy (PN) ships as he served at the junior officer’s billet in various capacity and culminated as captain or skipper to several capital ships of the PCG.

The PCG Commandant utilized his vast seagoing experience as he served as a professor in Maritime Administration and Environmental Economics at the PMMA Graduate School, as the Chairman of the Committee on Islamic Religious Studies, and as a member of the Technical Panels in Humanities and Maritime Education of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

In addition, Admiral Garcia also served as the Executive Director of the Presidential Task Force on Maritime Development Secretariat in 1996 during the administration of former President Fidel V. Ramos where he engineered the transfer of the PCG to DOTr in 1991.

As a scholar at the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the PCG Commandant pursued another Master’s degree in Maritime Affairs for Maritime Safety Administration from the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden in 1996. 

Furthermore, Admiral Garcia earned his Doctorate degree of Philosophy in Public Administration from Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST) and was further conferred a Doctor’s degree in Humanities from the Sulu State College for his humanitarian services.  He also took Bachelor of Laws from the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

Prior to his present assignment at the PCG, Admiral Garcia was the Officer-In-Charge in December 2016 - January 2018 and served as Deputy Commandant for Administration (DCA).

He was also assigned as Commander of the Coast Guard Maritime Safety Services Command (MSSC), Coast Guard Marine Environmental Protection Command (MEPCOM), Coast Guard Education and Training Command (CGETC), and Coast Guard Weapons, Communications, Electronics and Information Systems Command (CGWEISC), as well as District Commander of four (4) Coast Guard Districts namely: National Capital Region, Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, Legaspi City in Albay, and San Fernando in La Union.